Career Development Office - Job Search Tips

ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF AN EFFECTIVE COVER LETTER

Your Name
Your Address
Your Phone Number
Your Email

Date

Employer's Name
Employer's Address

Dear Name:

Opening Paragraph: The opening paragraph should state why you are writing and why you are interested in working for the organization. If you are writing a letter of application, state the name of the position for which you are applying and how you became aware of the opening.

Example: "Recently I spoke with Jill Jones regarding my career interests in education and community service. She informed me of your search for a Program Director for A Better Chance and suggested I contact you. I am very enthusiastic about the description of the Program Director and have enclosed my resume for our consideration."

When writing a letter of inquiry, state how you became aware of the organization and request an opportunity to meet and discuss ways in which you can contribute to the organization's efforts.

Example: "The June 15, 1997 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer included an article about A Better Chance's innovative residential teen tutoring program. I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and learn more about your program and discuss opportunities that may be available." If you were referred to the employer by someone, the first sentence is the best place for you to mention this.

Middle Section: Use this section to highlight specific skills and/or experiences relevant to the potential employer's needs. Present your motives for seeking employment with the organization and cite achievements and qualifications related to the position. If this paragraph get long, it is more effective to have 2 short paragraphs.

Example: "My interest in the Program Director position stems from its mission to create and maintain programs benefiting underprivileged teenagers with a desire to complete high school and pursue a college degree. While at Bryn Mawr, I volunteered with the YWCA organizing an after school tutoring program for 90 young women between the ages of 13 and 17. This experience strengthened my leadership, organizational, and interpersonal skills. It also solidified my interest in pursuing opportunities like the one offered by A Better Chance."

If you have qualifications that are not represented on your resume, this is your opportunity to present them. Take advantage of the space of a full page letter to present your related experience.

Final Paragraph: In this section state what you will do next or what you would like the recipient of the letter to do next. An assertive statement explaining what you are planning to do or what you hope the employer will do is better than a vague request for consideration.

Example: "I would welcome an opportunity to discuss the Program Director position and my interest in contributing to A Better Chance's efforts. I will call you the week of October 11 to discuss the possibility of scheduling a convenient time for us to meet. If you would like to call me before this, I can be reached at 123-456-7890."

Also mention any enclosures that accompany your letter (i.e. resume, writing sample, letters of reference, a list of references, test scores, etc.).

Sincerely,
[Signed Signature]
Your name typed

Enclosure (this indicates inclusion of additional materials)